Cure for Hiccups
Well it looks like summer is over. For about the past week things seemed a tad cooler.
But for many of us, the end of summer means the beginning of the school year. This past week, a new batch of students began the roll-out of our revamped instrumentation program. As for any new and improved program, there may be a few hiccups along the way.
Fortunately, I have a cure for hiccups;
- plug your ears with your thumbs
- plug your nostrils with your pinkies
- keep your mouth closed and swallow three times
It looks ridiculous, but it works. The science is that you are creating an internal vacuum which pops your diaphragm back, and your hiccups stop. It worked with one of my new students this past week. Just remember you read it here first.
“Two Mikes” photo by John Powszedny 2007
Digital Project – PIDP 3260 Assignment 5
photo by John Powszedny 2016
My digital project link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBx1fWA1YiQ
Not guaranteeing that it is the most riveting video you will ever watch. However, I did come to some conclusions while making it;
- Instruction, including delivery and assignments, should be continuously improved
- Student feedback is important to aid in continuous improvement of instruction
- Student feedback is easy to get
Lifelong Learning as a Professional
As an adult, I have been continuously learning. I have often remarked that it is important to learn something new every day, and that a day you don’t learn something is a day wasted.
Straight out of high school, I went to BCIT and earned a diploma, but learned pretty quick that my diploma wasn’t the finish line in the life-long marathon of learning.
My first few jobs taught me a lot. Like the fact that I didn’t research the job market very well when choosing a program to take. It turned out that the salary for my specialty was fairly low, and that it would take four more years of studying to get to the next level. And, I didn’t really like the work.
Defeated, I changed careers and went to work in a pulp mill. After a few years I won an apprenticeship in a career I really wanted. The apprenticeship lasted five years, the work was enjoyable, and the salary was much better.
After successfully completing my trade, I traveled around Western Canada, Russia, and the Gulf of Mexico, working on industrial construction projects. Then, a year ago, my former chief instructor contacted me, asking if I would like to become an instructor. The rest, shall we say, is recent history. I became an instructor, and a PIDP student.
“Fluid Goose” photo by John Powszedny 2013
Staying Sane: 16 Maxims of Skillful Teaching (A Summary of Brookfield, 2015 – Chapter 20)
In my summary below, I especially agree with # 11, “Acknowledge your personality.” I do this frequently in class. I like to inject humor, and don’t take myself too seriously. I was told I am informal (by a colleague comparing me to another colleague), which suits me fine.
Attend to your emotional survival
- Avoid metaphor “roller coaster of emotions”
- Attend to personal emotional health – find way to navigate frustration, disappointment, or self-loathing
- Context and contingency can distort any curriculum – expect ambiguity
- Understand you will never be in total control – freedom to be spontaneously creative
Perfection is an illusion
Ground your teaching in how your students are learning
- Inform your teaching choices
- Research can take time, weekly assessments indicates what is happening
Be wary of standardized models and approaches
- Time wasted trying to find the holy grail of pedagogy
- However much can be drawn from different models and approaches, mixed in with personal experience
Regularly learn something new and difficult
- Insights into what it feels like
Take your instincts seriously
- Teachers are the experts in their own situations
- Do not always assume the textbook is correct
- Every workshop should have at least three different learning modalities
- This will allow different learners to adopt the model preference of their choice
Don’t be afraid to take risks
- Think of a good educational experience as resembling a good conversation, which cannot be predicted in advance, and is not boring
Remember that learning is emotional
- Lost innocence, self-esteem issues, anger, resentment
- Remember emotionality of learning will help keep your emotions under control when receiving negative evaluations
Acknowledge your personality
Don’t evaluate yourself only by students’ satisfaction
- Some hostile student evaluations are inevitable; only universally hostile evaluations indicate a real problem
Remember the importance of both support and challenge
- Dilemma of balancing support for the students’ learning and challenging them to go further
- Criticizing as a method of challenging can have long term negative effects
Recognize and accept your power
- The instructor has power of the grade that may control a part of the student’s destinies
- Use the power to model publicly your own commitment to the kinds of learning you wish to encourage in students
View yourself as a helper of learning
- By definition, to teach is to help someone to learn
- Writing, developing, even software developers
- Find ways to promote day-to-day incrimental gains in learning
Don’t trust what you’ve just read
- Constantly be on the lookout for new insights and ideas
- You are the ultimate expert on your own experience
- Continuously making mistakes and learning from them makes for good teaching
A Final Thought on Brookfield Chapter 20
I can personally relate to all of these maxims. The ones that resonate with me the most are #11 “Acknowledge your personality” and #16 “Don’t trust what you’ve just read”. Brookfield did a good job of summing up the entire book in this final chapter with many words of wisdom. It made my own experience seem more normal.
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.